Cabs must stay away from green curbs downtown

The Huntington Beach City Council voted Monday to prohibit taxicabs from parking or picking up customers from areas where the side curb is painted green in downtown.  

Councilmen Matthew Harper and Devin Dwyer were absent.

The green 24-minute parking zones are restricted for business patrons who stop by for a quick purchase such as coffee from Starbucks or other shops in downtown, said Police Chief Ken Small.

Although taxicabs have their own stands at Walnut Street, east of Maine Street, and in front of Shorebreak Hotel, they choose to park in the green zones to bypass waiting in the lines. But it's causing a lot of inconveniences for businesses and their customers.

"It's been going on for years," Small said in an interview. "We tried to work with the taxi drivers, to educate them and get them to move along. We tried to enforce those who park there for more than 24 minutes, but it's impossible to try to stay on top of that."

Small told the council his officers have received many complaints about it from businesses, and it is time to do something about it.

Mayor Joe Carchio said the ordinance is necessary since nothing else has worked.

"Most business owners are kind of fed up with it," he said. "Everybody is well aware of where the taxis are supposed to park.

The city will not begin citing violators right away but will inform them first of the changes.

Per Councilman Joe Shaw's recommendation, police will also actively inform businesses and customers of where taxicabs can provide services.

"The taxi service has a valuable purpose in downtown," Shaw said.

Small said placing signs near the green curbs is one option, although the details haven't yet been sorted out. The city's Public Works Department would be in charge of placing signs if that's the option the city selects, Small said.

"We don't want to cite people," Small said, adding that the goal is to get taxis to park in their designated areas.

But now that it's prohibited, police have another tool to enforce it.

Those who continue to park in the green zones will receive a $42 citation.

The ordinance is set to go into effect in 30 days.

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